LAMPASAS — Shelly Harris heard what she wanted in the huddle, then her team followed through on the court.
After losing the first two sets of the match, Killeen forced a tiebreaker set and the Lady Kangaroos head coach posed a simple question to her players following the fourth-set victory: “How much heart do you have?”
Killeen responded in excess.
The Lady Kangaroos won eight of the first nine points in the fifth set and completed a thrilling rally to defeat Lampasas 24-26, 21-25, 25-22, 25-21, 15-8 and sweep the competition at the Lady Badgers’ tri-match Tuesday.
“They told me, ‘Coach, we are going to do this,’” Harris said. “So, they’ve got the heart in them this year. They’ve got the fight. It is kind of one of those things where they are young and they don’t know any better. (They just think), ‘This is what we are suppose to do, so lets go do it.’”
With senior outside hitter Chalon Anderson leading the way, posting nine kills and four aces in the match, Killeen survived multiple momentum swings but never truly faced defeat after dropping the first two sets.
In a match of streaks, Killeen jumped out to an early 13-7 lead to open the first set, but after going up 21-17, Lampasas roared back, tying the score 24-24 before claiming the win.
Then, Lampasas used a 14-5 run to start the second set, but the advantage almost entirely evaporated when Killeen pulled within two points at 23-21. But the Lady Badgers (5-4) finished strong once again, and Nola Bishop produced the set-clinching point to give Lampasas a 2-0 lead.
The Lady Badgers opened the third set with an 11-5 lead, but it did not hold. Killeen won 19 of the next 24 points before holding on for a three-point win to remain alive.
Lampasas threatened to end things in the fourth set, but Killeen continually remained one step ahead and the closest the Lady Badgers came was 23-21 before Madison Sapp and Anderson recorded consecutive kills to end the match and force the deciding set.
“They are showing every time we play how much they want to win this year,” Harris said. “And they want to work together. It is not about one person on the team. They are really playing like a team.”
Lampasas split its matches on the day, opening with a straight-sets victory against Johnson City, winning 25-22, 25-19, 25-16.
Killeen (8-4) also defeated Johnson City 25-18, 16-25, 25-15, 25-16 prior to playing Lampasas. Anderson led the Lady Kangaroos with 15 kills, while teammate Sabrina Garcia added a dozen.
“There were a lot of times we gave them points by missing serves and stuff, but (they) just have a determination to win,” Harris said.
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org